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Douglas A. Taranow, DO, FACOS

New York, NY

Should I Opt for Submuscular or Subglandular Breast Implant Placement?


Posted April 23, 2018 in Breast Augmentation

Illustration of Plastic surgery Breast ImplantDeciding to undergo breast augmentation surgery, the most popular cosmetic enhancement procedure is life changing. For a woman, her breasts give her femininity. Whether you have small breasts due to weight loss, pregnancy, or genetics, enhancing the breasts gives a woman the ability to raise her self-esteem or regain self-confidence that has been lost.

Deciding on what kind of placement for a particular implant you choose can be a bit daunting. Placement is dependent on your size, build, and lifestyle. A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is always the best way to gain information regarding which placement type may be the most successful. However, being knowledgeable about different placement options and what is typically used for different women can help ease some stress.

Submuscular Placement

Breast implants, whether saline or silicone gel, are synthetic devices that do not always appear to be entirely natural. When a woman is very thin or lean, she typically does not have enough soft tissue to hide implant-related imperfections. For this reason, a surgeon may suggest submuscular placement of the implant. For submuscular placement, the implant is placed beneath the skin, breast gland, and the pectoralis major muscle. The pectoralis major muscle is the thick, flat muscle that covers the upper portion of the chest just beneath the breast glands. This deeper placement of the implant helps to conceal implant characteristics, such as edges and ripples. An advantage of this type of placement when performed along with a breast lift is that the overlying breast tissue can have improved blood supply. However, because the implant is placed under the muscle, sometimes movement of the breast can occur when the arm is moved.

Subglandular Placement

During subglandular implant placement surgery, the surgeon will create a pocket behind the breast glands but entirely on top of the pectoralis major muscle. The advantage of this placement is that there is no interference with muscle function and no movement of the breast when making arm movements.


For breast augmentation surgery with either submuscular or subglandular placement, your surgeon can make incisions in the armpit, the area around the nipple, the crease under the breasts, or in the belly button. Incision access points are dependent on the size of the implant, not the placement itself, and saline and silicone implants are suitable for either placement.

Submuscular placement is considered to be the more invasive surgery of the two mentioned due to the necessity to separate the pectoral muscle to create room for the implant. While a breast augmentation with subglandular placement may keep the patient away from work for two to three days, the procedure performed with a submuscular placement may require about one week of downtime. However, the amount of time required for the patient to make a full recovery is approximately two to four weeks and is dependent on the locations of the incisions and the size of the implants. Each recovery is unique to the individual and the particular treatment plan that they have chosen with their surgeon.

For more information regarding breast augmentation placement or a consultation, contact the office of Dr. Douglas A. Taranow at 212-772-2100.